Ms. Helen Reiber is 92 years old and has dementia. Her kids want to make sure she's safe still living at home. She has home health care workers - who have inspected her home for safety issues.
“When keeping a senior safe in their home, having an open walk way is paramount. Without clutter there isn't a coffee table here.” Senior Home Safety expert Kristi Campbell recommends that adult children of seniors take at least one day each year to perform a safety check of their parent's homes, looking for things like well- lit rooms and the carpet. “Her carpet is not a problem because it’s so large and so thin. If it was a thicker carpet we wouldn't be able to get her up and over and that would cause a tripping hazard."
Safety in the bathroom means having a higher seat so there's not a fall risk. Inside the shower have a grab bar and a safety chair. In hallways that are darker than the rest of the house, Kristi says, “We have these pocket lights that we can put on the walls and as they come into a hallway or into a room they can simply hit the light and they can light up the hallway.”
Those are especially useful for the seniors in wheelchairs who can't reach some light switches. In the kitchen, make sure countertops are clean of clutter, appliances are unplugged until used, and the food is removed if spoiled. Kristi says, “Often times they get sick because they eat bad food. So if someone is coming by once a week - check all expiration dates making sure the milk is dated June 22nd and not June 2nd or even January 2nd.”
Help your senior label his or her weekly medicine holders. “These are her dinner meds. So at dinner time she'll eat whatever these medications are. So it helps the caregiver, the senior citizen, it helps everybody in play.”
And update a list of what needs to be done daily.
Home Instead Senior Care has a free home safety checklist and other materials you can use to inspect your loved one's home yourself. www.makinghomesaferforseniors.com